Scaling The Chief: A Look at Squamish’s Granite Monolith

Are you longing for a thrilling outdoor adventure that combines hiking, climbing, and breathtaking views? If so, welcome to Squamish’s Stawamus Chief – one of the largest granite monoliths in the world.

In this article, we’ll give you an insider’s look into scaling The Chief and exploring its stunning terrain and cultural significance. Let’s set off on an epic journey together!

The Stawamus Chief: A Massive Granite Monolith

The Stawamus Chief is a massive granite monolith that rises over 700 meters above the waters of Howe Sound.

Key features and topography

The Stawamus Chief, often referred to as the second largest granite monolith in the world, has several notable characteristics and a distinctive landscape that attract tourists from around the globe:

  1. It is a massive granite monolith located in Squamish, British Columbia, standing over 700 meters (2,297 feet) above the waters of Howe Sound.
  2. As one of the largest granite monoliths in North America, it towers nearly 2,000 feet (710 meters) above Squamish.
  3. This imposing structure is made up of three peaks with the first two being significantly larger than the third.
  4. The Chief rock essentially defines the town of Squamish with its impressiveness and casts a formidable shadow over it.
  5. Part of a protected area within Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, it also symbolizes natural preservation efforts in British Columbia.
  6. At the southern entrance to Squamish stand awe – inspiring granite cliffs which are preserved within Stawamus Chief Park.
  7. Beyond its sheer size and height, this grand formation stands out because it serves as an important landmark for local residents and visitors alike.
  8. Its unique topography offers various outdoor activities like hiking on established trails and climbing steep vertical cliffs for interested adventure seekers.

Hiking trails and accessibility

The Stawamus Chief offers a range of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience and fitness. These trails provide accessibility to the stunning summit views and captivating natural beauty of the granite monolith. Here are some important facts about the hiking trails and accessibility at the Stawamus Chief:

  1. There are three main hiking trails that lead to the different peaks of the Stawamus Chief: First Peak Trail, Second Peak Trail, and Third Peak Trail.
  2. The First Peak Trail is the most popular and well-marked trail, offering a moderate difficulty level. It takes around 1-2 hours to reach the first peak, depending on your pace.
  3. The Second Peak Trail is slightly more challenging than the First Peak Trail, with steeper sections and narrower paths. It takes approximately 2-3 hours to reach the second peak.
  4. The Third Peak Trail is considered the most difficult trail, requiring advanced climbing skills and equipment. It is recommended for experienced climbers only.
  5. All three trails provide breathtaking panoramic views of Squamish, Howe Sound, and surrounding mountains.
  6. The hiking trails at the Stawamus Chief are easily accessible from downtown Squamish, with parking available near the start points of each trail.
  7. The trails are clearly marked with signs and maintained regularly by park authorities.
  8. Hikers should come prepared with proper footwear (hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes), water, snacks, sun protection, and appropriate clothing layers as weather conditions can change quickly.
  9. It is advisable to check weather conditions and trail updates before embarking on any hike at the Stawamus Chief to ensure safety.
  10. While hiking at the Stawamus Chief can be physically demanding, it offers a rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and stunning scenic views.

Rock climbing and slacklining opportunities

  • The Stawamus Chief offers world – class rock climbing opportunities for climbers of all skill levels.
  • With its vertical cliffs and challenging routes, it attracts climbers from around the globe.
  • The granite rock of the Chief provides excellent friction and unique climbing experiences.
  • The second peak of the Chief is particularly popular for its diverse and challenging climbs.
  • Climbers can find a variety of traditional, sport, and bouldering routes on the Chief.
  • Slackliners also flock to the area to set up their lines and test their balance skills.
  • The expansive views from the top of the Chief make it an incredible setting for climbers and slackliners alike.

The Significance of the Stawamus Chief

The Stawamus Chief holds cultural and spiritual importance to the Squamish indigenous people. It is a place of reverence and connection to their ancestral lands.

Cultural and spiritual importance to the Squamish indigenous people

The Stawamus Chief holds immense cultural and spiritual significance to the Squamish indigenous people. This majestic granite monolith is considered a sacred place, deeply connected to their ancestral traditions and beliefs.

The Squamish people have a rich history and strong ties to the land, and they view the Chief as a place of reverence and connection with their ancestors. The towering cliffs of the Chief symbolize strength, resilience, and wisdom in their culture.

It is a site where important ceremonies are held, ensuring that the traditions are passed down through generations. Moreover, the stunning natural beauty of this landmark inspires a profound sense of awe in all who visit, fostering an appreciation for both its physical grandeur and its importance within Indigenous culture.

Stunning natural beauty and scenic views

The Stawamus Chief offers stunning natural beauty and breathtaking scenic views that captivate visitors from all around the world. As one of the largest granite monoliths in North America, it towers over Squamish, British Columbia, creating a dramatic backdrop against the picturesque landscape.

The sheer vertical cliffs and rugged terrain provide a sense of awe and wonder, while the panoramic vistas of Howe Sound and surrounding mountains are truly mesmerizing. Whether hiking to one of the summit trails or simply admiring it from afar, experiencing the incredible natural beauty of the Stawamus Chief is an unforgettable adventure for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers

The Stawamus Chief in Squamish, British Columbia is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. With its towering cliffs and breathtaking views, it offers a playground for hikers, rock climbers, and slackliners alike.

The Chief’s challenging hiking trails attract thrill-seekers who are eager to conquer its peaks. The granite monolith also presents a unique opportunity for rock climbing, with vertical cliffs that test the skills of even the most experienced climbers.

For those looking for an adrenaline rush, slacklining across the expansive gaps between the rocks provides an exhilarating adventure. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping challenge or simply want to soak in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, the Stawamus Chief has something to offer every outdoor enthusiast.


In conclusion, the Stawamus Chief in Squamish is not just a massive granite monolith, but also a symbol of cultural and spiritual importance to the Squamish indigenous people. With its stunning natural beauty and endless outdoor adventure opportunities, it has become a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts alike.

Scaling the Chief offers an unforgettable experience that showcases the grandeur of this iconic landmark in British Columbia.


1. How tall is Squamish’s Granite Monolith, “The Chief”?

“The Chief” in Squamish stands at an impressive height of approximately 2,300 feet (700 meters).

2. Is climbing “The Chief” recommended for beginners?

Climbing “The Chief” is not recommended for beginners due to its challenging and technical nature. It is best suited for experienced climbers with proper training and equipment.

3. Are there any safety precautions climbers should take when scaling “The Chief”?

Yes, climbers should always prioritize safety when scaling “The Chief”. This includes wearing a helmet, using proper climbing gear, being aware of weather conditions, and knowing their own abilities and limits.

4. Can visitors enjoy the beauty of “The Chief” without climbing it?

Absolutely! Visitors can still appreciate the stunning beauty of “The Chief” without taking on the challenge of climbing it. There are various hiking trails and viewpoints in the area that offer breathtaking views of this granite monolith.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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